Friday, October 24, 2014 Login
 
 
The logo for the European Cafe features the legendary Lajkonik, a man disguised in a Mongol costume complete with conical hat, thick black beard and a fiberglass hobbyhorse attached to the waist. This Polish folk hero is the focus of the Lajkonik Parade, held each spring in the Market Place of Krakow to commemorate Poland's victory over Mongol invaders.

In the early thirteenth century a great Mongol empire formed in Asia under the leadership of Genghis Khan. The Mongols, or Tartars as they were soon called, conquered Turkistan, Persia, Iraq, Georgia and almost all of Russia.

In 1241 Genghis' successor, Batu Khan, Attacked Poland, Polish soldiers and various foreign knights under the command of Henry the Pious, Duke of Silesia, met this attack at Legnica. The fierce Mongols on their swift horses were victorious, and they began to raid southern Poland with impunity.

The Tartars soon threatened Krakow province. Polish legends claim that in 1281 a brave Vistula River boatman, having gathered a group of companions, defeated a large force of Tartar invaders outside the city of Krakow and returned to town wearing the colorful outfit of a Tartar khan.

The Lajkonik Parade commemorates this brave act. At the parade, a red and crimson clad warrior in Tartar disguise prances around chasing people with his mace. It is said that if he touches you with his mace, it brings good luck throughout the year.